Three Whiplash Myths – Debunked
The term ‘whiplash’ relates to a neck injury caused by overstretching of the soft tissues in the neck when the head and neck are rapidly forced into an abnormal position, often following a collision in a motor vehicle.
This can cause a number of symptoms such as headache, nausea, shoulder and back pain, ringing in the ears, irritability, general stiffness and reduction of movement of the neck and shoulders. There are certain myths surrounding this type of injury, which affect treatment and future recovery.
Myth Number 1
If there is minimal damage to your vehicle and or you do not complain of any health problems immediately following the accident, you must not have a serious whiplash injury. However in reality cars have more protection around them than humans. A whiplash injury can still result after a small impact because the injury is caused by the type and velocity of the abnormal movement of the head. Often symptoms will only become apparent some days following the accident. A whiplash injury may not always be obvious in the first instance, especially those that affect the lower back.
Myth Number 2
Many people assume that if their MRI scans or x-rays do not show any problems then they do not have whiplash. However x rays only show fractures to bones, not injuries to soft tissues. This misconception can mean that people are incorrectly diagnosed and are therefore not treated. This in turn creates further deterioration in the neck muscles, tendons and ligaments which also further impacts on the spine and vertebral discs.
Myth Number 3
People think that when they have pain on movement they should rest. This is incorrect. At first rest and mild analgesia is recommended. Sometimes the suggested treatment is to wear a cervical collar for a certain period of time. However medical research shows that long term total immobilisation of the neck muscles is detrimental for recovery. Ultimately it is important to keep moving in order not to cause further problems due to lack of use of joints and connective tissues. Lack of mobility can create chronic problems in the long term. Specialist physiotherapy can be of benefit to treat whiplash injuries by providing appropriate therapy. In addition physiotherapists provide the patient with exercises he/she can carry out at home to relieve symptoms and prevent future damage.
What can you do?
The first thing you should do if you suffer a car accident is see a doctor immediately so that there is a record of the accident on file. It is important that regardless of whether the third party has admitted liability or not you seek legal assistance to establish if you have a valid claim for compensation. Many firms offer services for no fee and state that you will receive 100% compensation. Choose a company which has a recognised success in these types of claim because your future financial security might depend on it. In addition to claiming financial compensation on your behalf for your whiplash injury, a reputable firm will have access to an accident investigation team to establish the correct facts about the accident. In addition they may be able to gain interim financial payments in cases of hardship, for example if you are unable to work due to your injury, and help you access the correct medical treatment you need from private health care providers.
If you have suffered a whiplash injury and wish someone would take up the fight on your behalf for whiplash compensation, you might be pleasantly surprised at the advantages legal advice can offer you.
John Corwin is a freelance medical writer covering medical news, such as new drug releases, and cases of exceptional treatment be they good or bad.